Young South Jordan entrepreneur donates funds to heart organizations
Oct 04, 2017 02:28PM
● By Julie Slama
Alexa Gleason mixes up some slime to fill customer orders. She’s made about 400 sales since starting her business in May. (Kendra Gleason)
Not many 12-year-olds become entrepreneurs beyond lemonade stands and even fewer then donate half of the proceeds to heart organizations to help people with heart defects.
But that is just what Elk Ridge seventh-grader Alexa Gleason did this summer.
Inspired by her baby brother, Liam, who was born with a hole in his heart, Alexa decided to create a slime business.
“Slime is pretty popular,” she said. “I add colors and different things in it like beads, foam balls and stickers because it’s more colorful and fun than just plain slime.”
However, the idea took a little bit of work, her mother, Kendra, said.
“The first recipe failed, then she tried again and again,” Gleason said. “I’d say she had to test it more than 10 times or more to get the right consistency.”
But Alexa persevered. Once she had the right product, she had to learn the business side, such as how much to sell her product and where to sell it.
She turned to Etsy and created her own name, “Beautiful Heart Shop.” She created an Instagram account, @BeautifulHeartSlime, and in September, already had about 1,700 followers.
Alexa researched how much others were selling the product before setting her price.
“I had to figure out how much I could donate at a certain price and how much could go back to making more slime for the orders that were coming in,” she said. “I saw competitors with higher prices than mine, but they didn’t have the choices in colors and add-ins. So, I decided $9 for 12 ounces of plain slime was a pretty good price.”
But many of her customers want custom slime, such as Pink Birthday Cake Slime, which sells at $9.99 or Yummy Gummy Bear slime that is available for $11.99. Alexa even sells a custom slime named after her brother, Liam’s Baby Butter Slime in baby blue for $15.99.
Her business sense proved to be spot on. In September, she had almost 400 sales since she started in May.
“Many of the orders came from kids or were purchased for children or grandchildren,” she said. “Slime is a great stress reliever.”
Alexa also had to learn how to package her product. With each sale, she includes a “squishy toy heart” as a thank you.
“I think that with the order people became aware that it is helping people with heart defects,” she said.
Alexa got a checking account so she could track her income and be able to write checks to purchase supplies and give donations to both the American Heart Association and Intermountain Healing Hearts.
“I researched different charities online and emailed some of them,” she said. “Through the American Heart Association, I learned about Intermountain Healing Hearts, which helps more local patients.”
Currently, she is donating 25 percent to both organizations.
Her original plan was to save for college as well, but she now has a more pressing plan to purchase a KitchenAid stand mixer.
“I want to be able to make more slime and fill orders even faster,” she said, saying the mixer will help her business that she plans to continue throughout the school year. “It’s fun to make it and customize it. I plan to do this until slime becomes unpopular, and then I’ll find something else to make and sell so I can continue to help.”
In her free time from slime and homework, she plays center on the basketball court and dreams of playing in the WNBA. She also spends time with her three siblings, including her youngest brother.
Liam, who has a feeding tube, was scheduled to have surgery to close the hole in his heart late September, which doctors believe will solve his health issues, her mother said.
“He’s fun. He likes to eat and just be held,” Alexa said. “This was my idea. I just want to help other people.”